Newspaper of the NSW/ACT Independent Education Union (vol 32 #8) December 2012
New IEU headquarters P14
St Gregory’s stop work P4
Pay rises ahead P3
Parramatta CEO student services dispute
Messages of support pour in Messages of support are flowing in for Parramatta CEO student services staff, many of whom have been asked at short notice to reapply for positions that are shrouded in uncertainty and at a reduced salary. The IEU lodged a dispute with Fair Work Australia over the restructure, which impacts more than 100 student services staff, the majority of them counsellors, but including psychologists, speech pathologist and other specialists. The Union has also been fully engaged in asserting members’ rights, assisting with access to redundancy and compensation payments, and advising and representing members in meetings with employers over future roles,
redundancies and redeployment options. Many school chapters have passed motions stating their concern at the CEO’s decision and its failure to consult with affected employees and their Union “as required both by relevant industrial instruments and common courtesy” and the “alarming indication of the CEO Parramatta’s attitude to dealing with the rights of all its employees”. Chapters are calling for more time to facilitate “full and proper consultation”. IEU Deputy Secretary Gloria Taylor said Parramatta CEO’s approach to restructuring student support staff would lead to “a reduction rather than an improvement in student services and school support”. Read more IEU fights for better deal P2 Letters of support P4 Branches speak out P20
Labor roadshow spotlights freeze “These cuts affect all schools. Every teacher, student and parent will be worse off.” Labor politicians from all tiers of government have been actively supporting the campaign to stop the NSW O’Farrell Government from slashing funding to the State’s government and non-government schools. Leader of the NSW State Opposition John Robertson launched a ‘40 Schools in 40 Days’ tour to meet with school communities and help highlight the impact of the cuts. Mr Robertson, Federal Education Minister Peter Garrett, Senator Matthew Thistlewaite and NSW Shadow Treasurer Michael Daley have also been hitting the
Federal Education Minister Peter Garrett, Senator Matthew Thistlewaite and NSW Shadow Treasurer Michael Daley at Maroubra. St Patrick's Primary Principal Annie Duggan with NSW Opposition Leader John Robertson (above), and IEU Assistant Secretary Mark Northam, Rep Judith Adams, IEU Organsier Therese Fitzgibbons and Annie Duggan. pavements to help get signatures on a petition calling for the cuts to be reversed. Mr Garrett said the O’Farrell Government’s $1.7 billion in cuts will cause serious pain to the State’s educators and affect the quality of schooling statewide. “The O’Farrell Government’s cuts will lead to 1800 jobs slashed, an almost 10% increase in TAFE fees and a whopping $116 million in cuts to independent and Catholic schools,” Mr Garrett said. Meanwhile Mr Robertson, while touring St Patrick’s Primary School, Wallsend, near Newcastle, said any campaign to overturn the funding freeze would be lengthy and time consuming but vital
if schools did not want their services reduced to the minimum. During his visit, St Patrick’s Principal Annie Duggan and IEU teaching and support staff members told Mr Robertson of their concerns, particularly in relation to special needs students and the impact that the funding freeze will have on the number of teacher aide hours available in 2013 and beyond. The Principal spoke of the strong links that St Patrick’s has with the local community and the expectations that parents have of the school. Funding cuts would limit the capacity of the school to provide its current range of services and
place greater pressure on the parent body in terms of fundraising. IEU Assistant Secretary Mark Northam highlighted the reality that the largest cost component of running a school is salaries and that funding reductions would keep salary outcomes in the doldrums. He said the funding freeze represented an unprecedented attack on the funding of non-government schools. Sign the petition online at www. stopthecuts.com.au and lobby your MP at www.ieu.asn.au Read more Funding freeze P3
www.ieu.asn.au on the ground
IEU fights for better deal for Parramatta counsellors Gloria Taylor IEU Deputy Secretary Following the Student Services dispute in the Parramatta Diocese, the IEU is bargaining for an Enterprise Agreement for affected members. Most counsellors in the Diocese suffered reduced pay of $12000 FTE or more as a result of the ‘realignment’ of Student Services. They will receive inadequate ‘compensatory payments’. This has led to some counsellors opting for redundancy payments, resulting in the loss of experienced and competent professionals to schools. The CEO has yet again responded in a dismissive manner to the issues raised by the Union on behalf of counsellors. An Enterprise Agreement would strengthen the entitlements and job security of counsellors following this disappointing episode. The IEU sent a letter about next year’s counselling positions to the Parramatta Diocese, an extract of which reads:
now that counsellors are paid less and their role changed, what duties or tasks are they no longer required to perform? will the amount of counsellor time in schools be reduced as a result of the ‘realignment’?
Counsellors require clear, complete and written information about terms of conditions of employment and this needs to occur prior to their acceptance of the new positions. It is unreasonable to expect counsellors to confirm positions without this information.
“An Enterprise Agreement would strengthen the entitlements and job security of counsellors following this disappointing episode.”
IEU members have many unanswered questions about counselling positions in 2013. The lack of availability of critical information is hindering the capacity of counsellors to make informed decisions about possible future options. It is reasonable for employees to expect written offers of positions outlining specific details about salary, conditions and working arrangements. Counsellors seek information about a number of issues, including:
specific individual salaries for 2013 specific entitlements to compensatory payments any changes to their conditions including leave arrangements work bases and the provision of travel allowances retention of current entitlements
The following brief, unsatisfactory response to this letter was received by the IEU from the Diocese:
I advise that all Letters of Appointment have been sent by mail to individuals for who have expressed an interest and/or been interviewed for a particular position in the Student Services Model for 2013. The letters set out all the details regarding salary and terms and conditions. Upon acceptance of the position and forwarded to the office, the partial redundancy (if applicable will be calculated) and paid in the final pay of the year. The information regarding the partial redundancy calculation has been provided to all staff and in particular Ian Bailey (sic) of your office. We consider that there has been appropriate consultation and information provided to individuals and their representatives to make informed decisions about their future employment with the Diocese of Parramatta.
The following motion from Parramatta CEO staff was unanimously passed and endorsed by the counsellors: That this meeting of Parramatta CEO IEU members expresses its ongoing concerns about the CEO’s restructure of Students Services positions, noting the lack of appropriate consultation and the uncertainty and distress caused to affected staff and to schools, their staff, their parents and students. This CEO chapter believes that staff have a right to expect that the CEO would be a place where the core values of Jesus Christ such as respect, honesty, compassion, and justice would be demonstrated in its practice. It therefore believes that the restructuring of Students Services has not been consistent with our Catholic ethos, but has in fact reduced people/staff to the status of their FTEs only. The CEO chapter thanks IEU members at system and school levels for their support for the Students Services staff, noting that over 50 school chapters in the Parramatta Diocese have endorsed resolutions of support, and requests the IEU to continue to assist Students Services members individually and collectively in relation to the restructure utilising all possible legal and industrial remedies. In order to provide greater certainty for all CEO professional and administrative staff, this chapter calls upon the CEO to enter good faith discussions with the IEU to recommence negotiations for registered Enterprise Agreements to achieve agreements with salaries and working conditions commensurate with current CEO Memorandums of Understanding.
The Union will continue its fight for Parramatta counsellors.
Pay rise for support staff in EREA schools Carol Matthews IEU Assistant Secretary The Union has reached agreement with Edmund Rice Education Australia (EREA) for pay rises in excess of 2.5% for support staff. The increases of 3.5% per annum backdated to 1 July 2012 will be inclusive
of the 2.5% increase already paid this year. Additional increases of 3.5% will apply from January 2013 and January 2014. These nine schools are the first Catholic independent schools in NSW represented by the Catholic Commission
Talks resume on Catholic teacher agreements The IEU met representatives of NSW Catholic dioceses on 4 December to discuss pay increases for 2013. NSW government teachers and principals will receive increases of 2.5% from the commencement of the first pay period on or after 1 January 2013, pursuant to a one-year award which has just been made by the NSW Industrial Relations Commission. The award was made by 2
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agreement between the NSW Teachers Federation and preserved all existing conditions. The increase was limited to 2.5% because of the NSW Public Sector Wages Policy, which is binding on the NSW Industrial Relations Commission. Catholic employers have not indicated their position on the pay rise for teachers in Catholic schools. The Union will be keeping members up to date on all developments.
for Employment Relations which have agreed to increases in excess of 2.5% for support staff in the current round of bargaining. The increases for support staff follow the new agreement in EREA schools for teachers at the end of Term 3, which also
provided increases of 3.5% per annum. It is hoped that the new agreement will be finalised and voted on early in Term 1 next year.
Increases agreed in Christian schools The IEU, Christian Schools Australia and Christian Education National have reached an agreement on interim increases for teachers in NSW Christian schools to apply from February 2013. The IEU was seeking a new agreement to replace the Teaching Staff MEA 2011-2012 which expires at the end of 2012, with pay rises and improvements to conditions. Due to financial uncertainty as a result of the NSW Government funding freeze, the Christian employers have refused to make a new agreement at this stage (the existing
MEA will continue to apply). However the employers will recommend to all schools that they pay increases of 1.8% on Steps 1-12 and 2.5% on Step 13 from February 2013, and some other procedural improvements to the agreement will also be recommended. Negotiations for a new agreement will resume next year. A new multi-enterprise agreement applying to the three Christian schools in the ACT has been endorsed by teachers, with increases of 4% from July 2013.
www.ieu.asn.au on the ground
Funding freeze: Unfinished business John Quessy General Secretary
Over the past month the IEU has participated in a raft of meetings and campaign initiatives with victims, stakeholders and the perpetrators of the O’Farrell Government’s school funding freeze and cuts. What we are left with is a clearer understanding of how much is at stake, how long and arduous the campaign will be to have this decision overturned and who can be counted on to support these efforts. Activities have included a series of meetings with diocesan directors in which we have spelt out the Union’s view regarding the funding freeze and heard their assessment of the impact within each diocese. The conversations have revealed that at least $60million over four years will be missing from Catholic systemic budgets and potential losses from Commonwealth revenue (a product of reduced State spending) could add considerably to this figure.
These dioceses are trying to plan for the future in an uncertain environment. The directors all say they can only estimate the immediate and medium- term impact and they remain hamstrung by the lack of certainty. The Union has appreciated their openness in providing
his cuts to the NSW education budget and the freeze on funding to Catholic and independent schools. This unique coalition representing all principals, parents and teacher unions from the government, Catholic and independent sectors reminded
“If the Government won’t change its mind we’ll have to change the Government.” preliminary thoughts on how they might manage as the cuts bite. So far all have met with the Union in this spirit, with the notable exception of one. To date, the Diocese of Parramatta has not agreed to a meeting between the director and the employees’ representative, the IEU, on these issues. Divergent coalition In November the IEU joined a coalition of stakeholders in an open letter to the Premier Barry O’Farrell protesting
the Premier of the State Government's responsibility to education. We said that cutting funding was short sighted and that the NSW Government had demonstrated “a considerable gap between its rhetoric and the reality of its decisions”. We also said that the fact such very divergent groups endorsed the letter should indicate our concerns are deep- seated and widely shared in our schools and communities.
Premier meeting disappoints In late November the Premier and the Education Minister agreed to meet with the coalition in person. However, we left the meeting disappointed that the Premier would continue trying to justify the biggest cuts to education in a generation and that the Minister did not share the pessimism of virtually every person involved in the NSW education system. It is clear that the Liberal National Party are in complete denial, claiming that no child’s education or education opportunity will be harmed by reduced spending on education and that the Government did not get good value for what it spent. If the Government won’t change its mind we’ll have to change the Government. Not since Nick Greiner and Terry Metherell have we seen such an attack on the education budget in NSW. There will be an almighty electoral backlash.
Coming your way in 2013 Mark Northam Assistant Secretary Teacher performance and development The Australian Teacher Performance and Development Framework was developed by the Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership with the aim of setting a nationally consistent approach to teacher performance and development. Unfortunately a deficit model of the teaching profession underpins the Institute's thinking. Members should be aware that currently there is no agreement or funding to implement this Framework in any state, territory, education system or school across the country. Further, an industrial framework is required for any teacher appraisal process, to set out clearly how schools and systems of schools will operate. The IEU will be seeking to ensure that existing industrial agreements will be updated to provide for release time to engage in any future AITSL related requirements. However, IEU members are already making contact with Union officers regarding AITSL-based appraisal systems being proposed at their workplace. Release time to undertake reflections on teacher practice and revise strategies, to observe colleague’s teaching practice or
to be observed, and to exchange feedback on performance development is not mentioned in the school-based processes seen so far. If AITSL-based processes are being considered at your school, full consultation with staff and their industrial representative is required. AITSL stipulates that “the sustained effort required will be easier to generate if teacher performance and development is well aligned with other policies and processes at the national jurisdiction, system and school level”. Inherent in the above message is that an onus exists for employers to provide structures that support teacher development, not teacher burn-out. Inevitably, these structures are industrial - they must place boundaries around reasonable expectations and provide “time” to undertake additional work. Australian Curriculum in NSW Implementation of the Australian Curriculum will also impact on teacher workload in 2013 and beyond. As reported in November Newsmonth the IEU has sought specific details of what is going to be provided to support the NSW BOS implementation schedule. It appears that Catholic dioceses will provide an additional PD day in 2013 to
assist members to grapple with the additional demands of developing the new curriculum. The BOS is nearing completion of web-based support tools that will be of great curriculum programming assistance to teachers. These should be available in February 2013. The four online syllabuses are now available at the BOS website for teachers to become familiar with the new content arrangements. The Union advises that teachers should not commence actual programming work until the electronic programming tool is available from the BOS website next year. The NSW Government has indicated it will provide an additional $25 million over two years in funding to assist NSW schools to introduce the new curriculum. Sadly the Minister indicated, “of that funding, the government sector will receive $22.8 million to support teacher professional and the non-government sector will receive $2.2 million”.
The IEU will pursue this obvious anomaly to ensure our sector is not short changed. newsmonth - Vol 32 #8 2012
www.ieu.asn.au on the ground
St Gregory’s stop work Fifty teachers at St Gregory’s College at Campbelltown stopped work for two hours on 27 November in support of salaries consistent with those in similar Catholic independent schools. Following several previous chapter votes and a formal ballot for “protected
industrial action” under the Fair Work Act, St Gregory’s members acted to seek pay rises beyond the 2.5% pa for government and systemic schools towards the 3.6% pa being paid in neighbouring schools such St Patrick’s in Campbelltown and Mater Dei Special School and the 3.5% pa in EREA schools.
Support staff at St Gregory’s have endorsed the teachers’ action by not undertaking teachers’ work and look forward to engaging in the campaign to achieve similar increases for themselves. A chapter meeting was due to be held at St Gregory’s on 4 December to review the stop work action and to plan for a
campaign in 2013, including other action as may be appropriate. Members at St Gregory’s have requested the IEU to continue to seek positive negotiations with the College administration and/or with the Marist Brothers to achieve a just salaries outcome.
Messages of support for Parramatta CEO student services staff Not expendable Brian Doran English Coordinator, St Agnes Catholic College, Rooty Hill
The IEU welcomes letters, feedback and suggestions. Please send emails to firstname.lastname@example.org
We have three kids with hearing problems and many others from low socio-economic families. Quite a few Parramatta CEO student services staff have come here and they have been very supportive, helping with classroom management and this year providing an in-service for all St Agnes staff. We also have a counsellor on-site, with a well-worn path to his door. Counsellors do so much not just at school, but outside too. They are truly at the cutting edge of education, assisting students in overcoming and working through challenges in their lives – sometimes even tragedy – while also maintaining their learning. Their role cannot be trivialised. It is a real pity if these people are in any way seen as being on the fringes of education. That’s certainly not the case here. Student services staff work with our most marginalised students and it’s a cruel irony that they are being marginalised. We would like to see them
KEYNOTE: Improving Student Learning through Explicit Lesson Design, Curriculum Integration and Assessment for Learning DR LES VOZZO, SENIOR LECTURER, BADANAMI CENTRE FOR INDIGENOUS EDUCATION, UNIVERSITY OF WESTERN SYDNEYStep
hen Hughes, lecturer i
s NSW BOARD OF STUDIES s NATIONAL PARKS & WILDLIFE SERVICES s FAMILY AND COMMUNITY SERVICES s MUSEUM OF CONTEMPORARY ART
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shown the same amount of respect and compassion that is shown to students. The issue has galvanised support from staff at St Agnes, who voted unanimously in favour of the IEU resolution. We all have to show our support. You have to make a stand and say ‘What are you doing?’ The CEO has a right to restructure but there must be a better way. Economic rationalism doesn’t have a place here. It leaves a sour taste in the mouth and one does wonder if we will all eventually be weighed to see how much we are contributing to the bottom line. Who will be next? We must maintain a focus on student need.
A loss for students
I just wanted to register my angst at the potential loss of school counsellors. These positions are so important to many teenagers as they pass through the
Friday 3 May, 2013 MERCURE HOTEL SYDNEY
Make the effort Peter Confeggi, Parish Priest St Patrick's Parish, Blacktown
Margaret McDonald Student Services Support Staff, St Andrews College Holy Family Campus, Marayong
2013 IEU TEACH SURVIVE THRIVE CONFERENCE FOR TEACHERS IN THEIR EARLY CAREER YEARS
troubles of puberty etc. and are affected by new-age issues (eg Facebook and eating disorders) as well as the tragedies of losing a loved one or a troubled home-life. The support offered by these staff cannot be underestimated and whilst I am not privy to the details of the restructure proposed by the Parramatta CEO, I am saddened to think that this avenue may be not be available in the future or that students may lose contact with someone they have come to know, trust and rely on. I just wanted to provide feedback on this important issue and to feel that I have expressed my concern to someone.
Given the biblical imperative to care for those with greater needs and fewer resources and, in my own Catholic community the declared preferential open door for the poor, every effort needs to be made to sustain resources for those with special educational needs.
Resources for Implementation of National Syllabus Managing Challenging Students Institute of Teachers Accreditation advice Mandatory Reporting and Signs of Abuse
Organising excursions Voice Care
To register your interest contact Iva Coric on 9779 3200 or email@example.com NSW Institute of Teachers’ endorsed provider of Institute Registered professional development for the maintenance of accreditation at Professional Competence. Scope of Endorsement - Elements 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7 of the Professional Teaching Standards
www.ieu.asn.au on the ground
Fighting for workers’ rights a family affair Lee Mullaly and her son Sean celebrate the influence of a union-orientated family in inspiring them to take up Rep roles at their respective schools. But their sights are set on those without the benefit of this background, they tell Newsmonth Journalist Tara de Boehmler. Did you grow up on trade union politics with your cornflakes in the morning? For mother and son Lee and Sean Mullaly, trade unions and Australian politics were the topics du jour at many a meal, so it’s little wonder both have become IEU Reps. “Sitting around the dinner table, we spoke about unions and politics constantly,” says Lee of her formative years. “Our family has a really strong union background and it’s always been part of my life. My mother and aunt worked at Trades Hall in secretarial roles and my father was very active in the Federated Clerks Union. “So much of what they used to say is still with me.” Lee has been teaching for 32 years and joined the Union early in her career. She is the Rep at St Aidan’s Catholic Primary School Maroubra. Sean has been teaching for four years at Marcellin College Randwick and took on the Rep role just a few months ago. “I joined the IEU as soon as I finished university and just stepped into the Rep’s role a few months ago,” Sean says. “I’m right at the beginning.” “My family connections and mum having been in the Union all this time have been strong influences and the previous Rep suggested the role to me as he knew I had a strong interest in politics and the Union.” Sean and Lee are committed to all members at their schools and to letting non-members know
the benefits of joining. Lee now enjoys almost full membership among teachers at her school. But both of them prefer the subtle approach and are particularly passionate about recruiting new staff members. “I never use words like must or should in terms of joining,” Lee explains. “I tell them about the history of the Union and how they supported Catholic teachers when they didn’t have parity with government schools and how they continue to work for us. “People have become complacent and lost their understanding of how hard unions work to get us all we have and to keep maintaining and improving on our salaries and conditions. “I let them know they’ll get the pay rises anyway but that I feel it’s my responsibility to support and be a part of that process. I also stress the security afforded to young people by being in a Union and how it assists with the Institute and accreditation.” Sean says he is “really lucky” to be working in a good school that is so supportive of beginning teachers. “It’s also good knowing the Union provides new teachers with support around Institute requirements.” “As a younger teacher, membership means having all this support and knowing you won’t be taken advantage of.” Sean’s goal as Rep is in synch with his mum’s. “I would love to get more young teachers involved. We have 70% membership here and we really need to educate the new teachers coming in. “As a young person myself, one of the main reasons I’ve become involved is to make other young people aware of what the union achieves and the benefits of membership. “I’d like to see all reps encouraging new staff to become involved in the Union.”
“Sitting around the dinner table, we spoke about unions and politics constantly.”
Present Tense ELICOS News
Kendall Warren IEU Organiser On 5 November, the IEU held its annual seminar for members employed in the ELICOS and private college sector. The seminar was well attended and looked at a range of issues. These included an overview of the industrial landscape applying in the industry, such as the Fair Work Act, the modern award, enterprise agreements, unfair dismissal and some predictions on what a possible Abbott Government might mean. Participants were also addressed by Bernard O’Connor from NGS Super, who was able to answer many questions from those present about the ins and outs of superannuation. The seminar finished up with a short presentation on dealing with difficult people, including tips on how to conduct oneself in such situations. Feedback from the participants was positive, and the Union will hold a similar meeting in 2013.
The Union continues to bargain with various employers for a number of enterprise agreements. The most advanced of these is with Navitas English (formerly ACL), though the parties are still some way apart on salaries. The IEU’s current claim is for 15% over three years, while Navitas’ most recent offer is around 5.5%. Officers from the Union will soon be visiting all of the centres to discuss what action could be taken to move these negotiations forward. Negotiations are proving more fruitful at Insearch, the language school attached to UTS. Neither party is seeking anything too difficult, and management’s initial salary offer was reasonable, and so the Union is confident that a settlement can be reached by the end of this year. Negotiations are ongoing at both UoW College (attached to Wollongong University) and UWS College. These
negotiations have been held in concert with other unions. UoW College also has the additional complication of a university review into the future of the College. Nevertheless, the IEU remains confident that a settlement can be reached at both colleges early in 2013. Negotiations will soon commence with the EPIA group of colleges, a loose alliance of English colleges that come together to bargain (the actual colleges are Access, Australian Pacific College, Kaplan, Sydney College of English, Specialty, SELC and Universal). The Union has now met with teachers at every college and we are now finalising the Log of Claims. Negotiations are also soon to commence at Think: Education (formerly Billy Blue), who have elected to negotiate on their own this time around.
Enterprise agreements usually contain provisions which are superior to those in the award, and the Fair Work Act 2009 contains a mechanism for starting negotiations with your employer. This is known as good faith bargaining, and is enforceable in circumstances where a majority of employees wish to negotiate. If you would like to hear more about how this might work in your college, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. This will be the final Present Tense for the year, but we will back again in 2013. In the meantime, enjoy the summer.
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www.ieu.asn.au on the ground
Expanded program of women’s events The IEU will run an expanded program of women’s activities next year, due to their popularity in 2012, IEU Assistant Secretary Pam Smith writes. The IEU’s Women in Education Committee held a teleconference on 17 October to review this year’s Women’s Conference and to begin planning for the year ahead. Input to the Committee was also received from recent regional events such as at Lismore on 26 October, Canberra on 13 November and Parramatta on 21 November.
Key themes for the Committee in 2013 will include: workplace engagement and activism fair, safe and inclusive workplaces career development and leadership opportunities for teachers and support staff, and social justice and inclusion. While there is not a specific IEU Women’s Conference scheduled for 2013, women members are encouraged to participate in the Indigenous Education Conference on 15 March and the Support Staff Conference on 23 August, as well
other IEU conferences and events. An expanded regional program of gatherings will include Bathurst on 7 March and a proposed Riverina event, as well as the usual forums in Wollongong, Newcastle, Port Macquarie, Tamworth, Lismore, metropolitan Sydney and the ACT. The Committee will also link in with the work of the IEUA Women’s Committee, with Unions NSW and Unions ACT women’s initiatives and with community organisations as appropriate. In addition, the Union will also continue to engage with diocesan EO committees as they transition to a Workplace Gender Equality focus under
the changes to Federal legislation. When appropriate, this engagement will include policy review and development and joint professional development initiatives. Where possible, IEU regional women’s forums will be registered with the NSW Institute of Teachers for purposes of maintenance of accreditation. Contact the IEU for further information or assistance in regard to workplace equity issues.
WHS Training days Five-day training for elected health and safety reps All training to be held at IEU 485-501 Wattle Street, Ultimo
Term 1 Part 1, 25-27 February. Part 2, 18-19 March. Term 2, Part 1, 20-22 May Part 2, 17-18 June Term 3, Part 1, 5-7 August Part 2, 26-27 August Term 4 Part 1, 28-30 October Part 2, 18-19 November
For more details contact email@example.com for bookings contact Victoria firstname.lastname@example.org 6
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www.ieu.asn.au on the ground
True flexibility a win-win “I’m so relieved I don’t have to give up my job, which I was facing. And I feel proud knowing this will benefit others in the Lismore Diocese.”
The right to work part-time is no longer capped at two years for those returning from maternity leave in the Lismore Diocese, and an IEU member is thrilled she decided to take a stand, Newsmonth Journalist Tara de Boehmler writes. For two years Michelle Lawler has been dreading an impending decision between her work and family which, financially, would have forced her to quit her job or return to work full time. The St Peter’s Primary School, Port Macquarie, Teacher worked full-time before taking maternity leave. What she could not reconcile was why, when she returned, she was only given the option to work part-time for two years or lose her right to take back her full-time status in the future.
“The biggest blow for me was that we were always talking about pastoral care and caring for kids but I didn’t feel it was flowing to staff,” she says. The logistical excuses didn’t satisfy Michelle, who says it is generally straightforward for a person going part- time to recommend colleagues to share their role with. “I really think the benefit of keeping experienced staff far outweighs any challenges in having to work with a part- time arrangement for a limited period,” Michelle says. “Students have responded well to having two teachers with a range of strengths and interests. “It’s also widely recognised that skills you build as a parent are beneficial to the workplace.
“I was the first person to push the issue.” Michelle spoke to her Union, which approached the Catholic Education Office Lismore. “At first the CEO wouldn’t give any ground but the Union continued to push. “The Union said it was prepared to take the issue to Fair Work Australia as this had been cropping up a fair bit in our Diocese.” Finally the CEO confirmed Michelle would be able to retain her full-time position while working in a part-time capacity. It also committed to adjusting the Diocese’s Flexible Work Policy, ensuring others could enjoy genuine flexibility. Thanks to the decision Michelle, who has a five-year-old boy and a two-and-a- half-year-old girl, is now able to return
to work full time when they are both in school. “This outcome means so much to me. Because I waited until we were in a position where I could work part-time, and it was my personal preference not to rely on daycare. This has been churning my guts for the past few years. “I’m so relieved I don’t have to give up my job, which I was facing. And I feel proud knowing this will benefit others in the Diocese.” IEU Assistant Secretary Mark Northam says the Diocese “should be applauded for taking a new direction in terms of effectively managing part-time work following maternity leave”.
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www.ieu.asn.au on the ground
“Speaking to an MP personally is more powerful than anything you could do in writing.”
Maria and colleagues with Gareth Ward MP, and Mr Ward (front row second from left) in his preschool days.
The personal touch MP visits do make a difference when it comes to getting politicians to take notice of the issues around the Teachers are Teachers campaign for pay equity. For some time now the IEU has been urging early childhood teachers to visit their local MP to talk about the Teachers are Teachers campaign. Maria Whitcher from Kiama Preschool has achieved this goal, along with some colleagues from Jamberoo and St Columba’s Preschools. They visited Kiama Liberal MP Gareth Ward a few weeks before the pay equity issue was debated in State Parliament. It just so happened that Mr Ward was a former student of Kiama Preschool, and Maria was able locate two old pictures of him at the Preschool. “I made a little poster with the picture and wrote ‘from preschool to parliament,
thank your preschool teachers’ on it. “Straight away it created a more relaxed environment. We were no longer talking to a politician, just a person.” While not every teacher or director has the advantage of talking to a former student, the face-to-face contact with the politician is crucial. “He was totally unaware of the issues until we spoke to him. Before the election we spoke to the other MP, Matt Brown, and he was also unaware. “There’s no need for anyone going to talk to a politician to feel nervous or unconfident, because we are the experts in this field informing them. “Gareth seemed to listen and be grateful for our visit. We explained how teachers are penalised for choosing early childhood over schools and we have invited him to come and visit the preschool, which he has accepted.
“Speaking personally to them is more powerful than anything you could do in writing.” During the Parliamentary debate on the issue, which resulted in bipartisan support for the notion of pay parity for early childhood teachers with school teachers, Mr Ward acknowledged his visit and spoke at some length, praising the work of early childhood teachers. “The achievements at our centres are no accident. The research tells us that a strong link between teacher qualifications and good learning outcomes in schools is resonant. The links are equally relevant in early childhood. NSW has the best qualified early childhood workforce in the country.” However, he also said: “wages and conditions of teachers … are a matter for negotiations between employers and employees.”
Maria said the idea that wages are supplied by either the employers or the Federal Government was a misunderstanding that cropped up frequently among politicians and could be discussed in a personal visit. Prior to the parliamentary debate, a number of MPs attended a briefing organised by the IEU. These included John Sidoti (Drummoyne), Richard Torbay (Northern Tablelands), Lynda Voltz (MLC), Carmel Tebbutt (Marrickville), Luke Foley (MLC), Thomas George (Lismore), Kevin Connolly (Riverstone), Greg Aplin (Albury), Clayton Barr (Cessnock), Bruce Notley-Smith (Coogee) Scot McDonald (MLC), with Pru Goward and David Elliot sending representatives. All of these MPs would be ripe for a follow-up visit, as would those who have so far had no contact with the campaign.
Cakes, heritage and commitment Keiraville Community Preschool Director and early childhood advocate Margaret Gleeson shares her thoughts about why she’s a proud supporter of the Teachers are Teachers campaign for wage parity in the NSW early childhood sector and what keeps her going. Our preschool celebrated its 60th birthday this year and collected memories from past associates. One memory shared by one of our three founding mothers helps to keep me focused on the commitment we all need to have to children’s education. “In the very early days numbers dropped off and in order to raise enough money to pay the teacher we had a cake stall every Friday morning outside the Keiraville Post Office. We all baked cakes each Friday (or Thursday). We were joined by an old lady, Mrs Blackburn,
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whose family were grown but she still supported us regularly.” Today my wage does not rely on a cake stall. As the sole wage earner of our family I have been asked why I stay in early childhood when I could be earning more elsewhere. The answer includes concepts such as: responsibility, opportunity, community, legacy and heritage. In 1952 three local mothers saw the need for preschool education and with pioneering spirit they did something
about it. Their willingness to bring about positive change in their community has resulted in a strong educational foundation for thousands of children over these years. Their efforts set a vision that has been an inspiring legacy for many, many people and continues to inspire me. Throughout my career in early childhood I have felt a sense of responsibility to help pressure for the rights of children and families. It is sad to reflect there are many areas needing this. Too often lip services is given to
“Joining the campaign and advocating for children’s education helps counteract the stresses and workload of a standalone service.”
children’s rights and they are not fully realised. That is the case today. Children have a right to a quality education provided by a qualified teacher. In early childhood education we risk seeing the extinction of the university trained teacher. Governments need to ensure teachers are attracted to and retained in early childhood. Joining the campaign and advocating for children’s education helps counteract the stresses and workload of a standalone service. It reinforces the positive and helps to answer the ‘why’ question - Why am I doing this? When things feel all too much, it helps to refocus on the heritage of past advocates. It is also reinvigorating to see the great examples of leadership from early childhood advocates around the state.
www.ieu.asn.au on the ground
KidSmart guides teachers into new territories
The IEU’s 2012/13 IBM KidSmart Young Explorer training was held at Macquarie University in November. “We had 17 early childhood practitioners, one grandmother and 10-week-old Jimmy in attendance,” IEU Organiser Tina Smith says. Digi Kids author Hanan Harrison delivered a vibrant and informative workshop that gave participants ideas on how to integrate computers and appropriate software programs into their early childhood settings. Hanan says “technology is another learning tool, not an add-on” and that
“ICT helps to develop children’s critical thinking skills”. She provided examples of how ICT could extend children’s creativity and learning. For example it could be used to turn 2D concepts such as directional (left, right, north south) activities from the IBM Young Explorer software program into 3D experiences in the sandpit or for group activities. The training also allowed participants to explore a range of software, and how to use the software activities to extend on their own teaching practices.
Hanan says teachers need to develop “intentional teaching or deliberate practice”. “It is the why, what and how, but most importantly the when that matters when teaching certain concepts with an approach that is thoughtful, deliberate and with purpose. “We need to be selective with the software programs that we use with children, and it is vital that we use correct terminology when talking with parents. These are not games but a software program that children are using.” Participants also used the software
program Moviemaker to make mini movies. The IBM KidSmart program is an annual IBM/IEU initiative that provides 15 community based early learning services with up to $7000 worth of computer equipment, software, training and ongoing support. Some participants said attending the workshop “inspired and excited them to use the computer more constructively in their service”. They reported what they learned at the training was “do-able and fun and they now feel “enthused, confident and fuzzy”.
All the hard work pays off What a year 2012 has been for early childhood services. Along with massive structural shifts like the introduction of the National Quality Framework, we’ve seen demands on teachers and directors escalate. Members around the state got empowered and visited their local MPs on behalf of the Teachers are
Teachers campaign or hosted MPs at their services. MPs have relayed how important this step is for their own understanding of the issue. Other members have contacted local media and received great coverage. A recent example is of Margaret Gleeson from Keiraville Preschool (featured in this spread). Follow the link on our facebook page www.facebook.
com/teachersareteachers. Another highlight was the petition of over 12,000 signatures presented in NSW Parliament in October by Carmel Tebbutt, Shadow Minister for Education and Training. The MPs who attended and spoke on the issue were in no doubt of the passion of those supporting this campaign thanks to the groundwork of members.
In 2013 we will be contacting members in electorates where MPs haven’t been visited to line up an appointment. See our story about how this can be a powerful experience. We look forward to working with you next year and thank you for all your hard work on getting pay equity for early childhood teachers.
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www.ieu.asn.au on the ground
“Members were extremely upset to learn about the changed AIS process at such a late stage and without warning.”
AIS fails to consult Union over changes to Band 3 process Without consultation with the Union, the Association of Independent Schools (AIS) and the Independent Schools Teacher Accreditation Authority (ISTAA) changed the agreed process for Band 3 teacher accreditation, which affects salaries, IEU Officer Elizabeth Finlay writes. The IEU was only informed after the decisions had been made and the new evidence guide was completed and posted on the AIS website The Independent Schools Standards Model Teachers Multi Enterprise Agreement is a registered industrial agreement negotiated between the AIS and the IEU. The process for Band 3 accreditation is referred to in the Agreement and can only be changed if the Union agrees. Since 2007 teachers in independent schools have met the Experienced Teacher Standards that have been based on and linked to the NSW Institute Standards. During this time many changes have been made to improve the process, often 10
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at the IEU’s suggestion and always in consultation between the AIS and the IEU. On 10 October this year ISTAA notified teachers who had already applied for 2013 accreditation, that they would now be required to meet different standards based on the National Teaching Standards, and must submit their evidence using a digital portfolio developed by ISTAA. Teachers who are eligible to complete their Band 3 accreditation in 2013 are allowed to collect evidence during 2012 and 2013. Fifty teachers had already begun work using the existing negotiated process and standards. Several teachers had completed a significant amount of their documentation. In addition, a number of last year’s applicants had deferred for personal reasons, many having completed almost all of their documentation, with the intention of submitting in August 2013. Members were therefore extremely upset to learn about the changed AIS process at such a late stage and without warning.
Once alerted, the IEU immediately notified the AIS about specific problems and insisted that the evidence guide be removed from the website until the required consultation had taken place. Significant objections included the timing of the change without consultation, issues within the evidence guide, and the lack of a phasing-in period to accommodate individual circumstances. We did not agree to the arbitrary decision to accept only digital portfolios in 2013. Following discussions, the Union has successfully negotiated changes and improvements. For example, teachers are able to continue using the 2012 process where personal circumstances warrant that. Teachers can apply directly to Estelle Lewis, at the AIS for individual consideration of their circumstances in the following cases:
teachers who had deferred from the 2012 process for personal reasons teachers who have already completed a number of standards for the 2013
process using NSW standards, and teachers who are unable to submit a digital portfolio. As well as these changes, adjustments to assist teachers have been made to the evidence guide and the revised document is now back up on the ISTAA website. Unfortunately, teachers have lost four valuable weeks of the process due to the inability of the AIS to follow agreed industrial procedures. We hope that in the future, consultation regarding proposed changes will take place before their release, to avoid such unnecessary disputes. Since 2007 the IEU has been highly successful in assisting teachers meet Band 3 accreditation requirements. We are committed to continuing to support our members with accreditation matters. Members having any difficulty can also contact me at elizabeth@ieu. asn.au for assistance and support.
www.ieu.asn.au on the ground
Above: Michelle O’Keefe Far right:Alex Wharton Right: Peter Webster
Meet the new reps on the Quality Teaching Council Three new teachers’ representatives – all IEU members – have been appointed to the Quality Teaching Council, which acts as an advisory group to the NSW Institute of Teachers. Newsmonth Journalist Sue Osborne finds out what makes them tick. Moved to motivate Helping teachers be the best they can motivates Peter Webster both in his role as a new principal and as rep on the Quality Teaching Council. Peter is in his second year as Principal at Hennessy Catholic College, Young, where he says he is “rapt in his staff’”. “I see my role as developing my staff and the Institute is all about that. My thoughts are in alignment with the Institute.” “I have been an advocate of the Institute in my previous role as a support person for schools, principals and New Scheme Teachers with Sydney CEO and I can see the benefits of the Institute. “I expect policies and procedures of the Institute to go to the Council for comment. “I see the role of the rep to be up-to- date with the current research and able to advise on the development of policies and procedures.” Peter will be taking the views of principals from the Catholic sector back to the Council, and he will be open to principals and principals’ groups, including the IEU. “The IEU has the capacity to convey the views of a large number of principals, which is always valued. “The accreditation process can be beneficial to young teacher and mentors if done right.
“If they go through a healthy process then it’s a win for the supervisor and sets the new teacher up for success. “I’ve seen some fantastic examples of New Scheme Teachers being assisted by their supervisors in my role at Sydney CEO. “If the New Scheme Teacher is not supported, that’s a challenge. We need to ensure there’s consistency and support allocated. “What I like about the Institute is that it encourages lifelong professional learning. “Teachers should be up-to-date and learners in their classrooms and schools.” Peter is also a member of the Professional Learning Endorsement and Advisory Committee for the Institute, so has a long history of working for it. “I’m excited to be working with quality peers from all sectors – working with quality educators has always been a privilege. “Teachers make the difference and my goal being on the Council is to be able to develop our profession.”
the north-western suburbs of Sydney. It’s his first school since graduating from university and he’s in his second year teaching English to Year 5 through to Year 12 students. He has appreciated the support of a mentor at the school. “I found accreditation challenging but actually quite helpful to reflect on my practice and document my work. “Becoming a representative on the Council is a way I can give back a bit more. “I will try and make myself available to teachers through social media, as I am active on Twitter and Facebook and have a blog. “I’m really enthusiastic about the work of teachers and I want to connect with others. “I’m conscious representing other teachers is a great privilege and I’m sensitive to being true to other New Scheme Teachers and their views. “I’m aware all schools are different, so it’s hard to make generalisations. “I’m going into the Council with a positive attitude. The focus is all about quality teaching and lifelong learning for teachers. “The intentions of the Institute and Council are good in that they seek to raise the profile of teaching, which we always need. “I will attend the meetings hoping that we will make positive changes that will help teachers at the coalface.” You can contact Alex at awha2109@uni. sydney.edu.au or on twitter @whartonag
“It’s about how the Institute’s policies and procedures affect the workload of teachers.”
Help at the coalface New Scheme Teacher Alex Wharton found going through accreditation a positive experience, but he is aware this is not the case for all early career teachers. Alex sees his role on the Quality Teaching Council as representing the views of all independent school New Scheme Teachers, regardless of their views of the Institute. Alex teaches at William Clarke College, a large Anglican independent school in
Change from the inside out Michelle O’Keefe makes no bones
about her disenchantment with the accreditation process. Indeed she wrote about exactly that in Newsmonth (April 2012 edition, page 6). But Michelle has decided to become part of the process in order to fix the problem. She will represent Catholic systemic teachers on the Council with a view to facilitating change from the inside out. Michelle teaches Year 6 at Our Lady of Mt Carmel Primary School in western Sydney and is also secretary of the Union’s Lansdowne Branch and an IEU Council member. She has a wide network of New Scheme Teachers and of course can access people through her Union activities, and she plans to take their views back to the Quality Teaching Council “It’s not just my opinion. It’s common things that we always talk about and that come up every time the Institute is mentioned,” Michelle says. “It’s about how the Institute’s policies and procedures effect the workload of teachers. “The workload issues around accreditation, like having to repeat the same elements five years after you did them before, need looking at. It’s little things that could make it easier for teachers.” “I thought this role would give me an opportunity to make an impact for the better. “ Michelle has already had success affecting change by passing a motion at the Lansdowne Branch about the Institute’s professional development requirements. This motion was taken further and part of the motion is now NSWIT policy. She hopes to continue in this vein on the Council. newsmonth - Vol 32 #8 2012
Culture and learning in
Former Sapphires singer turned school Executive Director Lois Peeler will be keynote speaker at the IEU’s Indigenous Education Conference to be held on 15 March next year, Newsmonth Journalist Sue Osborne The conference will focus on National standards 1.4 and 2.4, and will promote understanding and respect for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students and teaching strategies for them. The Ministerial Council of Education, Early Childhood Development and Youth Affairs intends that all teachers will have a minimum level of professional expertise in both Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Education and Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies. Measures are being introduced in preservice teacher education programs nationally and through consistent national registration to support this intention. Lois toured Vietnam with the Aboriginal singing group in the 60s, a story recently made into a popular film. However she preferred not to talk about her past but rather focus on her work at Worawa Aboriginal College in Healesville, when speaking to Newsmonth. For the past two years Lois has been Executive Director of the College for Aboriginal girls in Years 7-10. Her sister Hyllus Maris founded the College 30 years ago, and Lois has been Executive Director for two years, since the College became all-girls. Lois says the College takes a holistic approach to provide the girls with an education that integrates their culture and social and emotional wellbeing as well as academic achievement. Students that come from diverse urban and remote backgrounds are assessed when they join in the school and provided with personalised learning plans. The school also provides them with health assessments and there is support from sociologists, counsellors and a weekly GP clinic. The school has a strong cultural program and will open a new unit for the teaching of Aboriginal languages next year. “At Worawa the whole program is based on Aboriginal values. We have respect, responsibility and our program is delivered with vigour,” she says. The school recently held a successful fashion show in which students designed 12
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the fabrics and costumes and staged the performance. At the IEU’s Indigenous Education Conference, Lois will speak about what the school has found works well and “the cultural elements which are just as important to achieve academic success”. “The holistic approach to balance emotional and social wellbeing can benefit all students,” Lois says. Tradition and practice The other conference speaker Dr Zane Ma Rhea is from the Faculty of Education at Monash University and she specialises in the relationship between culture, professional practice and organisational transformation. Dr Ma Rhea heads up research investigating National Professional
Making changes Principal Patrick Ellis will present a workshop on affecting whole school change. In a previous interview for Newsmonth Patrick talked about how he has instigated huge changes at St Therese’s Community School in remote Wilcannia. St Therese’s is an infants’ school of 33 Aboriginal students in a region identified by COAG as needing extra support. Unemployment, domestic violence, overcrowding and community loss and grief are some of the issues affecting students’ learning. Patrick and his staff have also taken a holistic approach to teaching. They work in partnership with a wide range of agencies to support the community. They provide a nutritional program, a tooth-brushing program, a nose blowing
“At Worawa the whole program is based on Aboriginal values, we have respect, responsibility and our program is delivered with vigour.” Standards for Teachers Standards 1.4 and 2.4 for AITSL. Her teaching, supervision, and research spans Indigenous leadership development, strategic planning, organisational development, professional skills development in mainstream service provision to Indigenous and traditionally oriented peoples, and theorising knowledge exchanges within the complex global economy. This work has included schools across Australia and internationally. Engaging elders Lisa Buxton will conduct a workshop on the importance of engaging with elders. Lisa is an influential figure in the Aboriginal and education community. A Tulgigin and Munaljahli woman from Yugambeh Language region, she is the Indigenous Adviser for the Eastern Region, Archdiocese of Sydney. She is also a secondary trained teacher who has experience in primary, secondary and tertiary settings. Lisa has a Masters degree and is currently doing her PhD. She also represents the IEU on the Board of Studies and ACARA.
session, speech and occupational therapy and a visiting psychologist. The school focuses on the individual learner, with staff meetings to discuss their needs, abilities and interests. “One size doesn’t fit all. We’ve done a lot of professional development with staff and got in experts to look at what we were doing and how we could do it better,” Patrick says. Different perspectives Annette Gainsford will talk about Indigenous perspectives across the curriculum. Annette has been a previous speaker at IEU Women’s Conference, where she talked about her own life story. Annette told the Conference that she was from a poor family with an Aboriginal father and a white mother who was illiterate. Neither of her parents valued education or understood the importance of homework. She attended 11 different schools. At age 14 she decided to leave home due to her father’s alcoholism and domestic violence. Even though the family wasn’t Catholic, nuns supported her. She spent six months in a children’s home where she met
another girl from school, and they could do their homework together. She was able to get a job as a trainee with an accountancy firm, but found it “too boring”. So she applied for an office job at All Saints College in Bathurst. “I felt my achievements and abilities were honoured at All Saints. They made me feel like I had something to offer. I’ll always be thankful for that.” Annette started working in the boarding college and became head of Marsden House. After 14 years helping in boarding she decided, at age 37, to train as a teacher. “A position was a advertised for an AEW at MacKillop College, Bathurst, and I got the job. With it came a university block release program. “I was really excited and grateful for the block release program at the Australian Catholic University, as this meant I could study to be a teacher.” The block release program is specifically designed to allow Aboriginal people from remote areas the chance to study for 10 days each term at the Strathfield campus, thereby not leaving their communities for months at a time. “I was inspired being with determined and talented Aboriginal women gaining a better life for their families and tackling great challenges.” Annette gained a Bachelor of Education and a Diploma of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Education and Religious Education Certificate, as well as two Dean’s listings for academic excellence. Annette is now Assistant Director of Boarding at MacKillop and is Indigenous Representative on the EOWW Bathurst Diocesan Committee. Dhinawan Dreaming will explore engaging students through indigenous stories and art. Many who have attended previous IEU conferences may be familiar with Dhinawan. He is a well know entertainer and public speak who has won the Premier’s Award for Education and Knowledge. He uses song, dance and storytelling to promote awareness and understanding about indigenous Australia. To register for the Conference contact Odette on 9779 3200 or email email@example.com.
St Â Therese's Â Community Â College Â students Â (left), Â Annette Â Gainsford Â (above) Â and Â Lois Â Peeler Â with Â IEU Â Indigenous Â Advisor Â Diat Â Callope Â at Â the Â premiere Â of Â The Â Sapphires Â in Â Victoria.
5ÂˇVIRU,PSURYLQJ ,QGLJHQRXV(GXFDWLRQ 5HQHZDO5HWHQWLRQ 5HFRQFLOLDWLRQ Promoting understanding and respect for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students.
FRIDAY 15 MARCH, 2013 MERCURE HOTEL SYDNEY Members $50 Non members $150 To register please contact Odette Neumann on 9779 3200 or firstname.lastname@example.org
THE CONFERENCE WILL FOCUS ON:
Keynote speakers Dr Zane Ma Rhea - Monash University
s increasing the capabilities of ALL practising teachers and school leaders to satisfy National Teaching Standards 1.4 and 2.4 s providing a framework to enable schools to develop a strong strategic aproach to addressing disproportionate educational disadvantages.
Review of best practices in Indigenous education and in-service professional development
Lois Peeler - Executive Director Worawa Aboriginal College
Lois will talk about how the College takes a holistic approach, providing students with an education that integrates their culture, social and emotional wellbeing and academic achievement.
WORKSHOPS INCLUDE: Dhinawan Dreaming - Engaging students through Indigenous stories and art. Annette Gainsford - Indigenous perspectives across the curriculum. Lisa Buxton - Importance of engaging local Indigenous elders. Patrick Ellis, St Thereseâ€™s Community School, Wilcannia - Effecting whole school change. Peter Oâ€™Beirne, Principals Australia Institute - Dare to Lead
NSW Institute of Teachersâ€™ endorsed provider of Institute Registered professional development for the maintenance of accreditation at Professional Competence. Scope of Endorsement - Elements 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7 of the Professional Teaching Standards This conference is NSW Institute Registered for 5 hours 15 minutes and Standards: 2.2.1; 2.2.3; 2.2.5; 4.2.3; 4.2.5; 5.2.3; 5.2.5; 6.2.6
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www.ieu.asn.au on the ground
Labour Bites Irish queue to emigrate
Irish union and community groups are protesting and organising street demonstrations to call attention to the serious impact of that country’s austerity measures. Teachers, nurses and engineers are leaving Ireland in numbers not seen since the potato famine and heading for Canada, the USA, Australia and New Zealand in search of the full time work that is no longer available at home. (Source: Irish Times) Out of the mouths of babes
A saint for our times
Dorothy Day is a hero of the Catholic left, a fiery 20th-century social activist who protested war, supported labor strikes and lived voluntarily in poverty as she cared for the needy. She has also found an unlikely champion in New York’s conservative archbishop, Cardinal Timothy Dolan, who has breathed new life into an effort to declare the Brooklyn native a saint. In November, at Cardinal Dolan’s recommendation, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops voted unanimously to move forward with her canonisation cause, even though, as some of the bishops noted, she had an abortion as a young woman and at one point flirted with joining the Communist Party. “I am convinced she is a saint for our time,” Cardinal Dolan said at the bishops’ meeting. She exemplifies, he said, “what’s best in Catholic life”. (Source: The New York Times) Unions form political party
Rodrigo Medrano Calle is a Bolivian labour leader who meets and lobbies top government officials for his constituency’s rights. What’s unusual is that Rodrigo is just 14 years old, and his union’s members are all children. “I started working when I was nine, and I’ve done everything, shining shoes, bus driver’s assistant, selling. I’ve gone through most of the jobs common for child and adolescent workers,” said Rodrigo. “I lived on the street for a time and was going in the wrong direction, but then I found the movement, and it gave me a reason to be.” Rodrigo’s organisation, the Bolivian Union of Child and Adolescent Workers (Unatsbo), represents thousands of under-18 year olds. The organisation seeks to bring young workers together to defend their rights and promote education. In Bolivia, successes include organising pay rises for children who sell newspapers on the city streets of Potosí from 6c to 12c a paper, using negotiations and the threat of strikes. Rodrigo believes that instead of attempting to end many forms of child and adolescent work, the goal should be ending exploitation by creating part-time, safe and better paying jobs for young people who want them. (Source: The Guardian)
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One of Fiji’s two peak union bodies has announced it will form its own political party and stand at the elections scheduled for 2014. In recent years The Fiji Trades Union Congress (FTUC) has had an increasingly tense relationship with the Fiji Labour Party which it helped form. Daniel Urai, President of the FTUC says the Labour Party has detracted from its intended aims and now has a narrowness of view and represents only one ethnic group. He argues that the Congress is prepared to risk criticism for giving legitimacy to the coup installed military government by standing in the 2014 elections because it is the only way to have some say in the formation of the next government. (Source: ABC Radio Australia)
Attention IEU artists By press time, the IEU will have moved into its new Sydney headquarters, 485-501 Wattle Street, Ultimo. The landmark ‘Briscoe Building’, circa 1901, is a heritage-listed Victorian warehouse with Romanesque windows, which was derelict for several decades before refitting and refurbishment by the IEU. Over the next five years, the IEU Executive will purchase by commission a collection of works of art executed by our members to display in the public areas of the building (meeting rooms, board room, training room and corridors). The Union is interested in all media, including textiles, painting, drawing, sculpture and photography. More details will be provided throughout 2013 but potential contributors might consider the following statement as an indication of appropriate themes to explore: “We are an education trade union committed to principles of equity, inclusion, fairness and social justice. “We have a great sense of history and our heritage-listed building was born of the 19th century as an iron merchants’ warehouse and has been renovated to meet our administrative needs in the 21st century.” For further details keep an eye on the IEU’s website and forthcoming issues of Newsmonth.
Paper Boats tell of journeys to Australia
GIVEAWAY To be in the draw, put your name, membership number and address on the back of an envelope addressed to Paper Boats Giveaway, NSW/ACT Independent Education Union, GPO Box 116, Sydney NSW 2001 by Friday 4 January.
“I was born twice. The first time was as a baby girl in Afghanistan in 1994. The second time was as a teenager when I landed at Sydney airport in 2005.” This is how secondary school student Fatima Moradi begins her story of family life in a country ruled by the Taliban, their move to Australia and how they adapted to a completely new set of circumstances. Fatima’s story is one of 21 short stories written by students from immigrant, refugee or asylum seeker backgrounds, which are featured in Yasar Duyal’s Paper Boats: An anthology of short stories about
journey’s to Australia. As a Teacher and English Coordinator based in Victoria, working within the government and non-government school system, Yasar says he came up with the idea for the book while on excursion with some students. “I really wanted to work with refugee students,” Yasar says. “It raises these students’ voices and ensures they know their stories matter. Using this book in class will also ensure mainstream students understand what teenagers of their age from around the world go through so that they can come here and have a piece of freedom and a normal life.”
Suitable for upper primary and lower secondary English students, each story is designed to be discussed in class, and includes research questions and writing activities. For more on Yasar and Paper Boats, see the April 2013 edition of IE. To read Paper Boats now, order from Cambridge University Press at http://www.cambridge.edu.au. 15% of net sales will be donated at a girls’ school in Afghanistan with the aid of the Afghan Red Crescent Society. Or try your luck by entering our giveaway.
“Using this book in class will ensure students understand what teenagers from around the world go through so that they can come here and have a piece of freedom and a normal life.”
Shorts Schools will be one of the focus areas of a new Federal Government anti-racism strategy. The first step of the implementation of the strategy will be a public awareness campaign with the tagline Racism. It Stops With Me. Over the next three years, the National Anti-Racism Strategy will focus on five key priority areas: schools and higher education, the media, government service provision, workplaces and the internet. More information on the National Anti-Racism Partnership and Strategy is available at: www.itstopswithme.humanrights.gov.au. Help improve the lives of refugees in detention centres by donating a musical instrument, or offering your services if you are a music teacher. Volunteer music teacher Philip Feinstein is coordinating the program. Email email@example.com.
If you need things to do over the holiday season that don’t break the bank but push the fun button why not visit the excellent Go Play NSW website. It has activities for children of all ages www.goplay.nsw.gov.au/. ACT members can discover Canberra’s natural delights with ranger activities: bit.ly/KLVga1. What helps new teachers develop resilience and staying power? This evidence-based free book is full of ideas, reflections and stories about how to keep new teachers in the profession. Here’s a taste. Emily, a new teacher, recounts a story from her classroom: “I was half way through ‘sharing time’ one Wednesday morning when one little boy jumped up excitedly – he really wanted us to hear his story. He told us all about how he went for a joyride in a car with his 12-year-old brother last night ... and that wasn’t the best part! The best part
was that the ride happened really late, at midnight, which for a kid aged six would seem pretty cool”. What would you do in such a situation? Find out what Emily did on page 83. Download at. www.ectr.edu.au. What happens when your ethical values clash with those of your employer? Or when you have a personal ethical dilemma and you’re not sure what to do? Ethi-call is a free service offered by St James Ethics Centre which can be as confidential and anonymous as you want. They operate during week days by appointment. Ethi-call 1800 672 303.
without buying anything) be the new Christmas sport instead of shopping? If Christmas is scaring you find solace here with people committed to finding the true spirit of Christmas. That could even mean putting on a Christmas musical production with family/ friends! Not convinced? Expore www. buynothingchristmas.org/index.html and www.adbusters.org for all sorts of creative, fun ideas.
Should Santa take a year off, hang out at the North Pole with his family and friends? Should whirl-marting (walking around department stores with big trolleys in a conga line
Hungover? Here’s a list of the weird and the wonderful to deal with those hammers in the head. Some well known, some not and some very amusing. www. bbc.in/17gRfC.
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Women too often carry the burden of social inequality. These women are working to change that.
Of the world’s poorest people, it is estimated that 70% are women. With the support of Australian unionists and unions, Union Aid AbroadAPHEDA is working to redress this appalling gender imbalance.
L-R: Jessica Sequeira, Abelita da Silva, Ricar Pascoela, Ana Filomena Mariano and Henyta Casimira - some of the founding members of the Working Women’s Centre Timor-Leste. Photos by Shabnam Hameed.
Almost three-quarters of our projects are aimed at improving opportunities for women and, by doing this, improving their families’ lives too. In Timor-Leste, we are supporting women like Jessica, Abelita, Ricar, Ana and Henyta in a vital poverty reduction initiative. These community-minded women helped form the Working Women’s Centre TimorLeste, which is working to increase women’s workforce participation and improve incomes and working conditions.
Your solidarity will make a difference.
Union Aid Abroad APHEDA
The overseas humanitarian aid agency of the ACTU
You can support initiatives like this by becoming a Global Justice Partner. Visit www.apheda.org.au or call 1800 888 674 to learn more.
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Inspired learning Do you have problems remembering things? Would it be helpful if your students could remember things better too? Try memrise.com. The site is based on the concept of a ‘mem’ (short for mnemonic), which can be anything to help you remember better. This may include a witty sentence, photo or remark to help you create connections. Memrise.com incorporates a variety of innovative learning techniques including imagery, and interconnects these through the use of games. You can choose from a list of new things to learn, including a host of languages, programming and science. Best of all, the site is free. Check out this piece from the Guardian about how one researcher managed to learn a language in 22 hours (or roughly 800 separate words). See www.guardian.co.uk/ education/2012/nov/09/learn- language-in-three-months. ‘Gamification’ styled teaching (the process of using game mechanics to solve problems) is becoming more popular. Researchers say the use of games is positive for the brain, and may help us to concentrate longer
and understand increasingly complex concepts. This could be a great educational resource and an addictive way for students and teachers to learn. Best of all, the site is free. ‘Generation G’ are growing up with the internet, consume most of their entertainment via gaming, and gaming sculpts the way they see their world and by extension, how they view their school work. See the TED speech featuring Gabe Zichermann on children gaming at www.ted.com/talks/gabe_ zichermann_how_games_make_kids_ smarter.html. Twitter trending If you’re an active user of Twitter, you may have already noticed how often the trending Twitter subjects change on a daily basis. Trending topics are a fabulous way of keeping track of the Twittersphere in a rapidly changing world, where news and popular culture trends dictate the media cycle and also the Twitter feeds. Twitter trends range from the obvious such as #occupyWallStreet and #WorldToiletDay to the politically whimiscal such as #thingsmorepopularthanAbbott, a
trending topic that became the biggest in Australia recently. By asking Twitter followers to engage in such a creative manner, a brand’s message is at the mercy of the daily Twitterverse and campaigns may live or die by their effectiveness on these social media platforms. One foul move and you can bet the top Twitter peeps will be trending your mistake to the top of the Twitter stack. A great way to keep an eye on trends is to use a separate website called trendsmap.com. You can zoom around on a world map and find out the trending topics based on selected locations. See www.trendsmap.com Cyber bully cop The Coalition’s cyber bullying policy is short on details, but does point to a larger Government effort to police cyber bullying online. Mr Abbott said he would create the position of an online ‘safety e-commissioner’, part cop, part big brother, keeping an eye on us. See www.smh.com.au/opinion/political- news/abbott-proposes-esafety- watchdog-to-combat- cyberbullying-20121116- 29gm7.html.
Win the full Gamut
Win a book by one of Australia’s most talked about bloggers, Greg Jericho, in our ‘Like us on Facebook’ competition. Greg Jericho was outed by The Australian for his ‘Grog’s Gamut’ political blog, and has penned the book about his exploits in the rapidly changing Australian digital media scene. Rise Of The Fifth Estate: Social Media and Blogging in Australia, provides a thought-provoking look into the power of new media technologies and how politicians engage with this medium – and often how they don’t. By liking us on Facebook, you can keep up to date with all the latest Union news and events.
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Fond farewell to exchange teachers Farewell to our 2012 visiting exchange teachers. We hope that your experience has been a rewarding one and that you take home many memories from your exchange experience so that others may benefit from your time here, Exchange Coordinator Helen Gregory writes. Try and become involved in your local exchange leagues. Those who attended exchange weekends, dinners and walks organised by the NSW ETL would realise how hard the regional reps and central committee work for the good of the exchange program. Farewell to our outgoing Year 2013 exchange teachers. You are off to some exciting (yet cold) destinations: Alberta, Ontario, British Columbia, England and Scotland. You and your families will have a wonderful year. You will continue to receive the Union’s publications while on exchange to keep abreast with all the news. We are still accepting applications for 2014 – for all provinces in Canada (we are still waiting for our first exchange to Prince Edward Island – it could be
you), the United Kingdom, Colorado in the USA, and international schools in Europe (are you under 30 years of age or do you have a EU passport?). Some mid-year 2013 exchanges are still available. You start in September, you have your big summer break before your exchange commences (you don’t arrive in the depths of winter) and your exchange teacher starts here at the beginning of Term 3 and has their big break at the end of the exchange. These are becoming popular and some boards in Canada will only consider a mid-year exchange now. Here is just one testimonial from Natalie Douglas, from Canberra to Alberta: “I found the exchange was one of the best professional development opportunities that I have participated in during my five years of teaching. I highly recommend a teacher exchange to further develop teaching skills and discover the differences of other cultures. “I don’t think I am able to describe in words what an extremely incredible and rewarding 12 months I have spent in Canada. From the moment Ally arrived from the Canberra Airport the reality of the exchange started to set in. It was a great chance for us to meet and discuss the
differences in schools and the children that were going to be in our classes. “Another thing we did not anticipate was the connection that we would make with each other’s families. They became our family away from home and have now travelled to see where we were living.” Natalie and her exchange partner have listed some benefits from their mid-year exchange.
Benefits for Australian teachers: VWDUWLQJWKHQHZVFKRRO\HDUDQG having the same class for the whole year WLPHWRSUHSDUHWKHFODVVURRPWLPHWR meet staff before school resumes RQERDUGZLWKVFKRROV\VWHPVDQG programs prior to students commencing time to prepare for the extreme winter weather, and WLPHWRRUJDQLVHVHWWLQJXSKRPH before school resumes.
Benefits for overseas teachers: RSSRUWXQLW\WRDUULYHLQ$XVWUDOLDDW the end of Term Two and meet the class they are going to be teaching RSSRUWXQLW\IRUDSURJUDPKDQGRYHU and professional discussions with exchanging teacher RSSRUWXQLW\WRPHHW3ULQFLSDODQG other staff members PLG\HDUZHHNKROLGD\VWLPHWR understand Australian curriculum and school programs, and regular holiday breaks and opportunities to travel within Australia.” Available exchanges Judith teaches Grade 4 at Woodside Junior School in Croydon in London. She ideally would love an exchange to Sydney, as she spent six months there last year working as a teacher for a child protection unit in Sydney.
Judith is a Christian, is single and sporty, and has a two-bedroom apartment available for exchange in Crystal Palace, with amazing views across London. You can see the London Eye, Wembley Stadium and Battersea Power Station. The area still retains much of its impressive Victorian architecture and is eight miles from the centre of London. Look up www.visitlondon.com/ Anne Marie teaches Maths at Resurrection Catholic Secondary School in Kitchener. She also has qualifications and experience in instrumental music and special education. Anne Marie is Catholic, married with three daughters and has a large three- bedroom home in Waterloo available for exchange. The incoming teacher must be Catholic. Kitchener/Waterloo are great exchange destinations. Kitchener/ Waterloo are twin cities located on hour to the east of Toronto and are famous for their farmers’ markets, Oktoberfest and jazz festivals. Stratford, one of the most prominent art festivals in Canada, is 45 minutes away. Look up www.resurrection.wcdsb.ca/newsite/ default.html www.kitchener.ca/en/index.asp www.explorewaterlooregion.com/ . So if you want to experience one or two winter festive seasons (depending on when you come home), download an application from the IEU website (www.ieu.asn.au and click on teacher exchange). There is an exchange video on the website (on the IEU’s homepage). You could also call me on 9779 3200 or 1800 467 943 or email a brief profile to helen@ieu. asn.au.
Feel like a change of pace? How does 12 months overseas sound? Tel (02) 9779 3200|Fax (02) 9261 8850 176-182 Day Street, Sydney NSW 2000 18
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Postcards from Canada
Unique and wonderful Mike Rodda, from Lumen Christie Catholic College in Pambula, on exchange to Toronto Canada with his two boys, Sean and Taidhg. Leaving our backpackers hostel this morning we are stopped by an American public radio interviewer in the foyer, taken into a quiet room and grilled with questions. What seems like ages later we emerge to finally see the sights of Washington DC. Will the interview ever get to air? Who knows. The delay regretted? No way. Fully
worthwhile to see my 14-year-old field his half of the questions so admirably - just one of our unique and wonderful travel experiences of this exchange. Stresses? Sure, it hasn’t all been the proverbial holiday. Driving on the opposite side of the road, in snow, to a school I realised I had little real idea how to get to could be defined as stressful. Finances, of course, as too the perpetual juggle of children and work, albeit, in another country. Bogged in deep snow kilometres from anywhere. The moment of discovering my youngest son was actually quicker than a squirrel was a bit scary, leaving multiple teeth marks in his hand from the displeased
squirrel and the word ‘rabies’ ringing in my head. All turned out well, and sure, like all exchanges I’ve had moments of wanting to be back in Australia (mmm, meat pies). However, the exchange of stories and support of fellow Australian exchangees has been surprisingly invaluable, often meeting up at the varied, yet all excellent , exchange events put on by Canadian ex-exchange teachers. The concept of leaving the known, that is family, friends, school, sports, known timetables and places, to take on an exchange may seem slightly stupid. And in some ways it is. For me, a single parent bringing up two children on my own, may seem especially so to
some. But it has been so beneficial. My understanding of North America has gained much depth (though now I am possibly filled with more questions), a knowledge I know will be beneficial in the classroom. My own children, wow, the world they have seen and tasted! That experience, every well executed ski turn, raft paddle stroke, startling vista, new tastes and smells, the seemingly endless campfires under the stars at previously unheard of locations, even every received bite, goes well beyond textbooks and movies and computer games, it surely has to have been worthwhile. And we still have four weeks of summer holidays to go.
Dream come true The Roff family will complete their 12-month exchange to Canada at the end of December. Jenny Roff, from O’Connor Catholic College in Armidale NSW is on exchanged with her family at Calgary, Alberta. This year over the summer, Calgary celebrated the 100th Calgary Stampede. The whole city turned on an incredible party for two weeks and celebrated 100 years of cowboy culture. It began with a parade through the city streets, and was then followed by 10 days of rodeos, chuck wagon races and stage shows, along with the usual mix of show rides and agricultural displays. The new school year began in September, and I was surprised to find that I was teaching grade 1 and 2 physical education as well as grade 7 Canadian social studies. Exchange teachers are known to be very flexible, and even though I was well out of my comfort zone I took up the challenge and have quite enjoyed the little ones and learned a lot about Canadian history and the fur trade. It didn’t take long for the cold weather to return. There was no gentle easing into it, just a sharp drop in temperature as soon as fall (autumn) arrived, followed by a dump of snow. By this time we were beginning to look forward to the Australian summer at the end of the year, and we realised why so many Canadians are obsessed with warm weather!
Damian has enjoyed a break from Religious Education co-ordinator at our school back in Armidale NSW, casual teaching in many different Catholic schools around Calgary, and he has had time to keep fit and exercise regularly, which has been an unexpected benefit. Our four children aged 16, 15, 10 and 9 will return to their schools in Australia and although they are very keen to see their friends, they have enjoyed the experience of living and studying overseas in a big city. Their classmates have been very interested in Australia, and they have had the chance to share some of our culture with them. We are very proud of how well they have coped and they will leave Canada with many wonderful memories. I also believe that we have grown closer as a family, having had to rely on each other more often and to look out for each other. I will be very sad to leave my school St Elizabeth Seton. The staff have been so welcoming and supportive, and the students are polite, friendly and hard working. I have learnt (and relearnt) many teaching skills in the gym and classroom, and I will be a better teacher for the exchange. I will not, however, miss playground duty at minus 18 and arriving and departing school in the dark. It has been a dream come true for us and I would encourage anyone who has the opportunity available to them to take it as you will not regret it. newsmonth - Vol 32 #8 2012
Appreciate the things we take for granted Chris Wilkinson President Well here we are at the end of another year. The budget cuts to education by the O’Farrell Government have certainly left us all feeling uncertain of the future. What will the impact be on our teaching, resources, professional development, the Australian Curriculum and the support for children with special needs? We can only hope that someone will realise the implications for children in our schools. After all, we are talking about the future of Australia and the clever country. I have just arrived back from India after spending two weeks with five Year 12 students working and living with both boys and girls in several Ashrams, who have been given a chance to move out of poverty and gain a good education. Most of these children come from poor families and circumstances, from the dumps around Mumbai. They value their education and study hard. We also had the opportunity
to go out on an old bus which visits dumping grounds, outreach centres, railway stations and the poorer parts of Mumbai. This trip has made the girls realise the importance of education and the simple things in life that we take for granted. I am sure that you are busy, as we all are at this time of year. Look back on 2012 and realise the impact you have had on the students in your class. You should be proud of your efforts and the hard work that you have put in throughout the year. I wish you all a Happy Christmas and an enjoyable holiday break. Take time for yourself, family and friends. Recharge your batteries for the year ahead. Thank you to the chapter reps, council delegates and all who make the IEU the great Union that it is. I look forward to working with you and supporting you all again next year. I also invite you all to visit our new offices in Wattle Street.
How easy is it to balance work and family? Louise Glase South Coast Branch President The Term 4 South Coast Branch meeting was held at Woonona- Bulli RSL on 14 November with guest speaker Sue Williamson from the University of Sydney, who is doing a research project on work and family balance. Sue and her colleagues are interviewing members in regard to their experience of requesting flexible arrangements, such as job share under the provisions of the Fair Work Act, and is seeking further input from members. She is also liaising with Wollongong CEO and the Diocese’s Equal Opportunity Committee. Other issues for discussion at the South Coast Branch meeting included the national and NSW education agendas, Workers Compensation changes and the impact on schools of the NSW Government’s funding freeze. The IEU has been meeting with all diocesan directors to discuss the implications of the NSW funding reductions on system level services and on schools directly. IEU General Secretary John Quessy and Assistant Secretary Pam Smith met with Wollongong CEO Director Peter Turner on 19 November with a focus on the protection of employment and working conditions and on equitable access to professional development. In Wollongong, as in other dioceses and the independent schools sector, the Union will monitor the impact of the funding situation, while continuing to campaign with other unions and community organisations against the 20
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NSW Government’s ill conceived cuts to education funding. Industrially, the IEU has welcomed the achievement of 3.5% per year salary increases for teachers in Edmund Rice Education Australia schools, the finalisation of agreements in Aspect and Kindergarten Union, and the continuation of negotiations with CatholicCare. The Union congratulates teachers at St Gregory’s College in Campbelltown for taking protected industrial action on 27 November in support of salary increases consistent with those in similar schools such as St Patrick’s in Campbelltown, Mater Dei and Edmund Rice schools. In the early childhood sector, the IEU is continuing to be actively engaged in the pay parity campaign, including the debate in NSW Parliament on 25 October following the presentation of a petition with over 12,000 signatures. On a sad note, the IEU was represented at the Requiem Mass for Mary Powell at St John’s Church in Campbelltown on 15 November. Mary had been a long serving Rep at St John’s Primary School, a delegate to South Coast Branch and had also served as Branch President. South Coast Branch thanks reps and members for their contribution to the IEU during 2012 and wishes them well for the remainder of Term 4 and for Christmas and New Year ahead. The Term 1 AGM is scheduled for 20 February at Woonona-Bulli RSL.
Take positive action this New Year Patricia Murnane Penrith/Blue Mountains Branch President At our November meeting delegates from Parramatta CEO schools were in a sombre mood. After having worked so hard over the year and living on the positive messages from the Gonski Report, the delegates reported disappointment, anger and deflation. If the NSW Government’s funding cuts to education in NSW was shocking and disappointing, the added insult of the funding freeze to non-government schools has created deep anger. At the meeting the delegates all supported the creation of a vigorous campaign from all IEU members, their employers and their local communities. Added to the anger and concern from school chapters was the deflation felt by all, following the news that Parramatta CEO has decided to restructure positions, roles and remuneration for staff in Student Services at Parramatta. It was reported that this decision was taken in light of the NSW Government’s funding freeze to non-government schools. While recognising the work done to date by the IEU to support affected members, delegates are demanding that the monies saved in this realignment be returned to the Student Services for their proper employment and service to
students with special needs in schools. The gloom continued when delegates repeated their previous concerns about the variation in schools with regard to the skillful mentoring and supervision of new teachers who are undergoing the process of accreditation for the NSW Teachers Institute. A number of new teachers have resigned before accreditation has been completed because of the heavy pressure they feel from supervisors in a number of schools. Members are called upon to support our new teachers. They are our teaching future. They are lowest paid teachers on our staff, are expected to work well, skilfully and do extra towards their accreditation, and they get to pay an annual fee to be a member of the Institute. Are we acting in solidarity with these teachers to make things just for them in their workplace? Will we act in solidarity in 2013 towards the reversal of the funding freeze decision? Positive action always dispenses gloom even in the hardest times. Perhaps members could think about these issues when they make their New Year's resolution.
PowerPoint ambush Paul Ryan Cumberland Branch President Imagine a Melbourne Cup where the race clubs decide to halve the prize money after the race, or make the horses go around for another lap, over jumps. This same disregard for convention and previously agreed conditions is what has been happening in the Parramatta Diocese to more than a hundred members employed as school counsellors and specialist support teachers, working with the vision and hearing impaired. These good people deal with many of our most vulnerable students. As part of a restructuring (there’s that R word again, which we know from experience is a euphemism for culling jobs and cutting costs), these employees were advised that their jobs would be declared ‘vacant’. They were then given a week to put forward an ‘expression of interest’ to reapply for their own jobs, but for less pay and different conditions. Even more alarming is that many of these members were attending a cluster meeting and received this information by
a PowerPoint slide. Members were numb with shock and some were left in tears. There was no prior consultation with the IEU over the proposed restructuring, and the treatment of the affected members could well be described as an ambush. The IEU has taken the case to the Fair Work Commission and discussions are ongoing in an attempt to reach a resolution. Delegates at the recent Cumberland Branch Meeting joined the Penrith/ Blue Mountains Branch in passing a motion urging the Executive of the NSW/ACT IEU to mount a campaign that will have the maximum impact on Parramatta CEO’s realignment of these student services employees. It is to be hoped that the flexing of some industrial muscle might see some progress in restoring industrial justice to the affected members that felt betrayed by the employer and turned to the IEU for support. While we might not be too surprised by the occasional shenanigans and sharp practice on the racetrack, we are entitled to protest when it happens in the workplace.
“Members were numb with shock and some were left in tears.”
Kids miss out while waiting game goes on Gabe Connell Vice President, Early Childhood Services As another year draws to a close we need to ask ourselves what has been achieved in the early childhood sector this year? Many of us have had our first assessments under the National Quality Framework (NQF) and the reports so far are that it is not as bad or as frightening as we first thought. We are still fighting for pay parity and watching while good staff burn out and leave the sector due to low wages and poor conditions, and new graduates choose to work in the primary sector for better wages and better conditions. The National Partnership Agreement promised better outcomes for all children in Australia. Perhaps it should have said “for all children in Australia excepting those who through bad luck happen to reside in NSW!” The money from this agreement was handed down to NSW. Where is it? How was it spent? Where are the better outcomes? Have we achieved equity, accessibility and affordability? I think not. In fact NSW has fallen behind in every aspect yet again. It is time to put real pressure on the NSW Government and make them accountable for this money and how it was spent. We don’t want band aid
solutions, we want real outcomes for families across NSW. We need to ask the Federal Government why they are not making NSW accountable for this money and how it was used and we need to see how this is measured. The really vulnerable children in our communities continue to miss out while the children from high socio- economic families can afford to access more days in an EC program and fill the spaces we desperately need to fill to remain viable while we wait and wait for an announcement, for the release of the Brennan Report, for someone with enough common sense and commitment to children to find a way forward, for even an indication of what next year may hold in funding for services. How can services set budgets and fees when there is no information being passed down. I know some services are being told they must reduce their fees. Is this so NSW can say they are meeting their targets? In the meantime a generation of children miss out on what we all know is the most important time for learning in their entire lives.
Improved conditions for Lismore members The Lismore IEU office has had productive meetings with Lismore CSO officers during 2012, providing improvements in a variety of workplace areas for employees in Catholic systemic schools in the area, IEU Officer Steve Bergan writes. Improvements include: New electronic pay slips using the CONNX software program to be rolled out to all employees in 2013. This pay slip will contain broader details of employee entitlements. A review of the Teachers Work Practice Guidelines is being undertaken which will reflect current practice. Inclusion of a new clause Students with Challenging Behaviours within the revised Teachers Work Practice Guidelines will assist teachers dealing with difficult students. HSC Markers alternative leave options. These options include taking long service leave at full or half pay as well as taking leave without pay for HSC marking. Long Service Leave to be accessible at half-pay. Review and updating of the CSO Part-Time Employment policy. This policy to be re-drafted to reflect current legislation and terminology.
The new policy will be split into two policies to cover Flexible Work Practices and Part-Time Employment. Teachers’ permanent part-time hours to be fixed at agreed loads, therefore guaranteeing security for those teachers who relinquish their permanent full-time positions. The option of a pro-rata redundancy for those teachers moving from permanent full-time to permanent part-time positions. CSO policy of teacher relocation and temporary exchange, a positive initiative which the Union is seeking to incorporated into the Teachers Work Practice Guidelines. This allows teachers to undertake temporary transfers to Diocesan schools for networking, professional refreshment opportunity and development outside their current school. The Union placing the CSO on notice that RFF in primary schools cannot be eroded or used for purposes of their choosing. Officers of the Union are continuing their discussions with the CSO on a variety of other issues that affect staff in schools. We look forward to promoting further positive outcomes for members on these issues during meetings with the CSO in 2013.
Uncertain time of year Carolyn Collins Vice Present, School Support Staff The disturbing decision by the NSW Government to slash State education funding by $1.7 billion over the next four years will impact greatly and immediately on our 4130 support staff members. Clearly Premier Barry O’Farrell has not considered the impact, not only on staff, but on our children. Undoubtedly this breach of trust is the State Government’s response to the Gonski recommendations. We need to gear up for the fight of our life. I urge you to oppose this callous reduction in education spending by contacting your local member, assisting with petitions and increasing public awareness in any way you can. It’s always worth noting that support staff constantly participate and respond professionally to a wide variety of school-based activities such as meetings, despite being paid on an hourly basis. Support staff should always have access to memos or minutes of meetings that are outside paid working hours.
If we are required to attend a meeting, outside our working hours, we should be paid overtime or receive time-in-lieu (either way, this should be by mutual agreement). Is it not concerning enough that many are not full-time or even have permanent hours. The looming fear at this time of year, is not knowing if we are going to be employed the following year, and/or what hours of employment. These things impact enormously on our ability to prepare for our future, get loans or pay every day bills. Training and professional development are high on the agenda of the IEU. The biennial IEU Support Staff Conference is to be held in late Term 3 2013 and the Indigenous Education Conference on Friday 15 March. Get in early as positions will fill fast. I would like to wish all school staff a joyous and safe holiday and trust 2013 will not be as ominous as it appears to be.
Womens’ paid work increases, housework burden remains the same Lismore IEU recently hosted the North Coast regional Women in Education Forum. This year the event was on a Friday night instead of the usual Wednesday evening, allowing members to socialise more afterwards. IEU President Chris Wilkinson and North Coast Branch President Marty Fitzpatrick welcomed members to the forum, including guest speakers Dr Sandy Darab, Lecturer from Southern Cross University and Natasha Wernick, Creative Community Development Leader from Tweed Shire Council. A warm welcome was also extended to Pat Buie, Canadian Teacher on exchange to Xavier Catholic College, Skennars Head. Natasha spoke of her various community roles within the Tweed Heads Shire Council, along with her leadership and engagement with the community of Uki. Natasha spoke about bringing a small isolated community together when it is made up of a diverse range of people. The refurbishment of the local community hall and the development of a festival that celebrated the village of Uki’s arts and culture brought people together. The Ukitopia Festival is now an annual event. Sandy, lecturer in the School of Arts and Social Sciences at Southern Cross University, addressed the forum on the topic of Balancing Professional Life with family responsibilities.
She based her discussion around the latest statistics about women in the workplace, drawing on her research of welfare and work reforms and their effects in regional NSW. She provided some interesting insights about how women operate in today’s society. Much of what women do today in terms of home duties and child rearing has changed little yet their role within the workplace has changed significantly. Pam Smith, IEU Assistant Secretary and Women in Education Convenor, gave an up-to-date report on activities occurring in the Union. This included the follow-up from the IEU Women’s Conference in August, the expansion of regional women’s events across the State and the Federal Government’s ‘Dad and Partner’ pay scheme. Steve Bergan, Lismore IEU Organiser and Lismore CSO Diocesan EOWA Committee member, reported on activities in the Lismore Diocese EOWA committee, soon to be renamed the Workplace Gender Equality Agency committee. These included the committee’s new model of meeting via video- link, an initiative of an International Women’s Day competition involving both primary and secondary female students, highlighting the need for gender balance on interview panels and the ongoing production of the Committee’s Fair’s Fare EOWA newsletter for staff within Catholic Diocesan Schools.
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Sample the year’s best
When I sat down to write this final column for the year there were those in the office who offered the usual challenges: “Give me five really good wines for a traditional Christmas lunch on a budget of $100” or “What’s the best red to get my father-in- law who doesn’t really know much about wine but likes red?” I decided however to largely ignore them all and to muse on some of the best and most interesting wines I’ve tasted this year but not written about. For those paying attention, these wines represent both my varietal prejudice and my Christmas wish list. The Riesling, for indeed there must be an example of this most under- appreciated variety, will come from the Clare Valley in South Australia. The Wilson Vineyard Polish Hill 2012 ($25) is a magnificent example of the Polish Hill style from a magic vintage.
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The wine is clear with a greenish tinge and is as aromatic as a Riesling gets, with intense floral and lemon lime perfumes that concentrate in the mouth and barely touch the sides, so pure is the quality of the fruit. Swirl it around and reveal the slate, talc and mineral power hidden behind the citrus. Long zesty acids finish the experience. Drink this now by all means but in five or so years it will develop complex cedar aromas and a greater depth of flavour. In 12 years it will be a very different wine with the rich, pungent and oily characteristics so loved by some. My next favorite Tyrrell’s Stevens Semillon 2008 ($25) is a stunning result from a difficult Hunter vintage. A green straw with a vibrant colour and a nose of citrus and lemon curd and already showing a little bottle-age toastiness. The palate is still lively, with a core of citrus and acid beginning to soften. At four years old this wine is showing great structure and
balance, as the fruit and acid harmonise to reveal the buttery savoury qualities of gently ageing Hunter Semillon. Will this be better than the 2006? Considering the quality and character of the two wines above I don’t understand why people queue up to pay $20 plus for Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Grigio. What would life be without Grenache? The Two Hands Brave Faces 2011 ($30) GSM is a truly serious food wine. It is 80% Grenache, 12% Shiraz and 8% Mataro and at 14.5% the alcohol is not restrained. A rich dark red, it exhibits raspberry and red cherries on the nose with hints of spice and wherever there is Grenache I get a sense of lavender. The first taste is of vibrant red fruits and sweet plums giving way to spice and smoky earthy flavours. There is enough Shiraz to show evidence of dark chocolate, the tannins are at first a little coarse (that’s the Mataro at work and will integrate well in time) and they do finish slowly and linger. I do love this wine.
Regular readers know how partial I am to Heathcote Shiraz and will appreciate how excited I am by this final wine, Tyrrell’s Lunatiq Heathcote Shiraz 2010 ($35). Someone apparently called Murray Tyrrell a lunatic when he first planted Shiraz in the area. This is without doubt the finest Shiraz from that region that I have ever tasted and the price does not really reflect the quality of the fruit selected and the care taken in the production process. The very deepest of reds, almost an opaque black, the aroma is described by the winemaker as “brooding”, with individual nuances of chocolate, plums and spice which are slow to unravel and reveal themselves. Black and red fruits, liquorice and spun sugar create a party in the mouth as the complexity of the wine unwinds. Fine-grained cedar tannins dawdle to finish a wine with at least a decade ahead of it. Good drinking.
Bernard O’Connor NGS Super
Cast an eye on your super I have always considered lost super to be a flaw in an otherwise world-class retirement savings system. Firstly, why do fund members let this happen and, secondly, why doesn’t the government pass legislation which enables funds to transfer ‘dead’ accounts to the principal account? After all, the name, date of birth, gender, tax file number and even the address is often the same in both (or all) of the accounts. At present there are approximately 6.1 million lost super accounts with an estimated value of $17.7 billion. Some funds, including NGS Super, have advised members of lost or inactive accounts and this has resulted in an improvement with $3.2 billion in unclaimed accounts being transferred to their rightful owner in 2011 -2012. The treasurer has been giving some thought to these ‘hollow logs’ and has introduced a bill in his mini-budget to transfer many of these inactive accounts to the Australian Tax Office. The Unclaimed Money and Other Measures Bill 2012, if passed, will provide the transfer of approximately $555 million to the Government. Interest will be paid on the accounts at the rate of CPI and workers will still be able to reclaim it if they know about it and take the time to do so. The proposed legislation makes the following significant changes: the period of inactivity for an account will be reduced from the current five years to 12 months the account balance threshold for inactive accounts will be raised from the current $200 to $2,000, and the interest payable will be the CPI inflation rate. If the bill is passed this year, funds and administrators will have a very
short time to arrange for the transfers to the ATO. It could also lead to increased pressure on administration fees with fewer accounts paying for what is essentially the same service. The biggest potential problem will be the loss of insurance cover once the inactive accounts are transferred to the ATO. If, for example, an account is transferred with the loss of insurance, a member may make a claim at a later period by arguing that he/she did not consent to the transfer. This could lead to a minefield of litigation unless sufficient safeguards are put in place in the legislation. The one-year inactivity period could also cause problems if, for example, a member goes overseas and comes back to find the account transferred to the ATO. So it’s wise to keep an eye on your super and that includes any lost or inactive super accounts you may have opened in your name during various periods of employment. It’s your money, you’ve worked for it and it’s easy to locate. Let’s finish the year with the immortal words of WB Yeats: “Cast a cold eye on life, on Death” and on your lost Super! Here’s how you can locate lost super: ATO – SuperSeeker – name, dob, TFN or call 13 28 65 As this is the last Absolutely Super for 2012, management and staff at NGS Super would like to wish all IEU members a fantastic holiday season and all the best in 2013! Bernard O’Connor (NGS Super)
Newsmonth Newsmonth is published eight times a year (two issues per term) by the NSW/ACT Independent Education Union. Executive Editor: John Quessy (General Secretary) for and on behalf of the IEU Executive and members. Managing Editor: Tara de Boehmler Journalists: Suzanne Kowalski-Roth, Tara de Boehmler, Sue Osborne and Daniel Long. Graphic Design: Chris Ruddle Contributions and letters IURPPHPEHUVDUHZHOFRPH7KHVHGRQRWUHÀHFW endorsement if printed, and may be edited for size and style at the Editor's discretion. They should be forwarded to: Newsmonth 485-501 Wattle Street ULTIMO NSW 2007 GPO Box 116 SYDNEY NSW 2001 Tel: 8202 8900 Toll free: 1800 467 943 Fax: 9211 1455 Toll free fax: 1800 804 042 email: firstname.lastname@example.org On the net: www.ieu.asn.au
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NSW/ACT IEU Executive John Quessy General Secretary Gloria Taylor Deputy General Secretary Carol Matthews Assistant Secretary Mark Northam Assistant Secretary Chris Wilkinson President St Joseph’s Catholic College, East Gosford Michelle Omeros Vice President Non-Systemic St Euphemia College, Bankstown Bernadette Baker Vice President Systemic St Columbkille's Primary School, Corrimal Carolyn Collins Vice President Support Staff St Michael's Primary School, Nowra Gabrielle Connell Vice President ECS Albury Preschool Kindergarten
General Executive Members John O’Neill Carroll College, Broulee Ann Rogers ASPECT South Coast School, Corrimal Pat Devery St Mary’s Cathedral College, Sydney Marty Fitzpatrick St Francis Xavier’s Primary School, Ballina Ralph Hunt The Armidale School, Armidale Denise McHugh McCarthy Catholic College, Tamworth Peter Mullins St Francis Xavier College, Florey ACT Patricia Murnane Emmaus Catholic College, Kemps Creek Kevin Phillips St Francis Xavier’s College, Hamilton Michael Hagan Mater Maria College, Warriewood
Francis Mahanay Vice President, ACT Holy Family School, Gowrie Peter Moore Financial Officer De La Salle College, Cronulla
(Important information: The information in this article is general information only and does not take into account your objectives, financial situation or needs. Before making a financial decision, please assess the appropriateness of the information to your individual circumstances, read the Product Disclosure Statement for any product you may be thinking of acquiring and consider seeking professional advice.)
Marie MacTavish Financial Officer St Joseph’s Primary School, East Maitland
newsmonth - Vol 32 #8 2012
Giveaway 2 Strategies for Surviving Bullying at Work
Kingdom of Plants with David Attenborough ABC DVD Three copies to giveaway If you loved the recent David Attenborough series on ABC TV here’s your chance to own the DVD of all three episodes. The episodes were filmed over a year at The Royal Botanic Gardens in Kew and features mind blowing macro photography footage, insight into “the true nature of plants” and a peek into the important plant saving work Kew Gardens is famous for.
Evelyn M Field Australian Academic Press ISBN: 978 192 151 3817 Three copies to giveaway Need to know how to care for yourself and others at work? This book is full of extremely practical strategies to recognise an internal bully (negative self talk) and what makes someone vulnerable to being a target and a bully. But the fantastic thing about this book are the uplifting ideas about how to use your words, body, face and humour to your advantage. This book is highly recommended to anybody who wants to empower themselves with simple strategies to beat bullying.
More giveaways within
Expressions of a Labour Movement Activist Author: Chris Christodoulou Five copies to giveaway It’s easy to forget the sacrifices that have gone into making a successful union movement. It’s also easy to forget the ‘light on the hill’ that motivated generations of labour activists. Well known and passionate Unions NSW activist Chris Christodoulou gives a personal, political, creative and historical account of “his union desire” and traces back its beginnings from his childhood in Wollongong to his current position as Assistant Secretary for Unions NSW. This book reflects on union values and activism, the honour of representing working people and the importance of breaking down factions. It’s a shot in the arm for all those who are committed to improving the working lives of Australians, so grab yourself a copy if you miss out on the giveaway. If you donate $20 or more to the Asbestos Foundation you’ll get a free copy of the book. See www.adfa.org.au.
This giveaway is a shameless promotion for the IEU Teachers are Teachers early childhood campaign. Like us on Facebook - www.facebook. com/Teachersareteachers - between now and 4 January for your chance to win ‘The Planet Collection’ narrated by David Attenborough. This is the complete series of the award winning Blue Planet, Planet Earth and Frozen Planet with over seven hours of special features. Reviews include “watch and wonder” (The Times) and “jaw-dropping television from start to finish” (Sunday Express).
See Paper Boats: An anthology of short stories about journeys to Australia on p15 See The Rise of the Fifth Estate by Greg Jerricho on p17 To enter one of these giveaways put your name, membership number and address on the back of an envelope addressed to Newsmonth Giveaway 1, 2 or 3 - NSW/ACT IEU 12-14 Wentworth Street Parramatta 2150 by Friday 4 January. Envelopes not clearly marked with which giveaway they are entering will be disqualified.
NGS Super provides professional and informative workplace presentations on how to make the most of your super. These free presentations aim to demystify super so you can have better control over your money. You also have the opportunity to ask questions to NGS Super experts.
So what are you waiting for? Contact NGS Super and book in for a presentation at your workplace today.
www.ngssuper.com.au 1300 133 177
WE’RE HERE TO HELP YOU! This information is general information only. You should read the Member Guide (Product Disclosure Statement) before making a financial decision. NGS Financial Planning Pty Ltd, ABN: 89 134 620 518, is a corporate authorised representative #394909 of Mercer Financial Advice (Australia) Pty Ltd (MFA), ABN 76 153 168 293, Australian Financial Services (AFS) Licence #411766, Registrable Superannuation Entity (RSE) Licence L0000819.